As much as I enjoy the comforts of living in my own flat and have had the privilege of calling London my home for over a decade, I do enjoy the novelty of a London staycation and being a tourist in my own city every once in a while.
Tucked away in a less touristic part of the city, The Westin is a luxury spa hotel which boasts an impressive riverside location and spectacular views over London’s historic River Thames. Designed by British architects Dexter Moren Associates, the hotel certainly oozes splendour, from the sleek and contemporary architecture to the classy choice of color palette, our eyes instantly drawn up towards the impressive bespoke suspended paper sculpture by Dutch artist Peter Gentenaar as we walked through the South entrance.
There are 222 guests rooms and suites, the palette of natural colours meticulously selected to evoke a sense of calm whilst furnishings seek inspiration from the natural world, featuring oak timber panelling, rich green hues, and curved lines. We stayed in one of the Duplex Suites on the eight floor which featured a floor-to-ceiling window; the lower level consisted of a large sitting area with an ample desk, and a toilet, with stairs at the far end which led up to a one-bedroom mezzanine furnished with a comfortable Heavenly Bed, a bathroom with rain shower and toilet, and a sink with a lighted makeup mirror. Unfortunately we didn’t quite have a city view from our room as it was obstructed by the opposite building, but I had a restful couple of nights nonetheless. Charlotte was also provided with her own cosy little dogbed and food/drink bowls.
The Westin Club
We were fortunate to be given access to The Westin Club, an exclusive area located on the hotel’s fourth floor, on the bridge across Upper Thames Street. Open daily, they serve a breakfast buffet in the mornings, not too dissimilar from the restaurant, although less extensive, snacks and hot/cold drinks throughout the day, as well as happy hour in the evenings which offered free house wine, beer and nibbles.
We had dinner on our first night at the hotel restaurant, Hithe + Seek, a stunning wine bar with large floor to ceiling windows stretched out over the River Thames, overlooking the Shakespeare’s Globe and Tate Modern. The decor is elegant, furnished with plush emerald green sofas paired nicely with parallel gold bars that formed a wave motion around the room. I loved the abundance of natural light which illuminated the space just before the sun went down, the dim lighting creating a bit more of an intimate space as we admired the city light up in the distance. Inspired by its location, the menu and wine list are carefully divided into two sections; Hithe, a classic selection of food and wine with a strong focus on the Old World, as well as countries with a long tradition of wine making, and Seek, focusing on wines from the New World, coming from countries outside the traditional wine-growing areas of the globe, offering a whole world of discovery. We sipped on carefully selected wines complemented by delicious food pairings such as beef tartare with pickled mushrooms & smoked egg yolk, braised Mangalitza pork belly bao buns, grilled Galatian octopus with blood orange purée, and a mini lobster roll topped with trout roe. I’ll definitely be back to try the rest of the tantalizing sharing plates and more wines from their extensive menu.
Breakfast in the mornings was served in Mosaic, their convivial all-day dining restaurant, where we were spoilt for choice with their hot and cold breakfast buffet, a tempting array of pastries, as well as freshly prepared omelettes from behind the counter.
The Heavenly Spa by Westin in the basement is a tranquil oasis and the ideal place to briefly escape the hustle and bustle of the city above. A space for silence, personal reflection and contemplation, it features high-end facilities including five treatment rooms, a manicure and pedicure room, a thermal suite, the WestinWORKOUT Fitness Studio, a relaxation room, and an inviting pool area, with its sand tone and textured walls, softly lit with industrial-glam copper ceiling and pillars alongside the mesmerizing sea of blue. At one end is a sleek built-in whirlpool, behind which is a thermal suite with sauna, steam room, ice bath and experience shower.
A word of thanks to The Westin London City for hosting us over the weekend; I look forward to returning soon to try out one of their spa treatments, and spending more leisurely evenings at Hithe + Seek, chasing more sunsets in the summer months to come.
* My experience at The Westin London City was complimentary – views and photos are my own